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XML Syntax: Attributes

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 13:36:16 +0100
Message-Id: <7725772C-687A-40D3-99F6-1D66E62D2AB4@cs.man.ac.uk>
To: W3C OWL Working Group <public-owl-wg@w3.org>

I propose that we put the attributes into "no namespace" rather than  
into whatever namespace we pick.

Rationale: Unprefixed attributes do not inherit the default  
namespace. This is a deliberate design decision of XML namespaces.  
The idea is that bare attribute names which are *only* used in a  
specific vocabulary are sufficiently disambiguated by their parent  
element. Attributes that are intended to *cross* vocabularies (such  
as xml:lang or xlink attributes) *are* encouraged to be put into a  
namespace (for obvious reasons).

The advantage of keeping the attributes namespaceless is that, with a  
default namespace declaration, OWL/XML will not need *any* prefixes  
for elements and attributes. Frankly, this is a huge authoring and  
reading win. It also means one can *just* use QNames for uri  
abbreviation (assuming we allow QNames in attribute content...subject  
of a future post!).

My understanding is that no namespace attributes are the preferred  
design in this case anyway. We don't intend for these attributes to  
be used anywhere but in our vocabulary and it's pretty clear that no  
one would want them :)

Received on Thursday, 28 August 2008 12:33:45 UTC

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